The Houston Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs are pleased to announce an open call for



The City of Houston and the Houston Public Library are seeking qualified candidates to be members of the Poet Laureate Selection Committee. The selection committee serves to review Poet Laureate candidate applications, interview Poet Laureate finalists, and to help shape the guidelines and policies of the program.


Mission Statement: Established in 2013, the Houston Poet Laureate Program (HPLP) celebrates Houston’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a poet who will represent Houston by creating excitement about poetry through outreach, programs, teaching, and written work.

Current Term: The newly selected Poet Laureate Selection Committee will be assisting in selection of the second Poet Laureate, whose term shall commence in April 2015.

Eligibility: The selection committee will include diverse representation from local universities, literary-based cultural organizations, and the poetry community. Candidates should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Experienced poet or author
  • Professional experience in literature, poetry, or the arts (e.g., leaders of public and private arts and cultural organizations, literary critics, or other relevant experience)
  • Teacher or Professor of Poetry and/or Literature at a Houston-based institution

Term Expectations: 

  • Participate in regular meetings with the Poet Laureate Selection Committee to review and score Poet Laureate applications and participate in committee discussions.
  • Conduct interviews with Poet Laureate finalists.
  • The group will meet frequently (1-2 times per month) from the period of November 2014 – April 2015 to review and discuss applications and conduct interviews. Once the Poet Laureate is selected, meetings will be conducted on an as-needed basis.


A. A short statement of one or two paragraphs detailing why you would be a good candidate for the Poet Laureate Selection Committee.

B. Résumé or curriculum vitae not to exceed two (2) pages.

C. List of any committees or commissions on which you have served.

D. Completed application packets should be submitted as MS Word documents via e-mail to [email protected].

Selection Process:

Representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the Houston Public Library will review applications to ensure eligibility and diversity of experience. Selections will be reviewed and approved by the Mayor and the Houston Public Library Director. Candidates will be notified by Friday, November 14, 2014.


Made possible in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.


In April 2013, Mayor Annise D. Parker and Houston Public Library (HPL) Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson announced that award-winning author and poet Gwendolyn Zepeda was selected as Houston’s first Poet Laureate. Zepeda will serve a two-year term, April 2013 through April 2015.


As Houston’s Poet Laureate, Zepeda represents the city by creating excitement about poetry through outreach, programs, teaching and written work. Zepeda is committed to developing a Community Outreach project for Houston’s many diverse neighborhoods, as well as to local businesses. She has already held several poetry workshops and participated in HPL literary events.


Zepeda is a Houston-based author that is best-known for her works of fiction, including Growing Up with Tamales; Houston, We Have a Problema; Lone Star Legend and Better with You Here. However, Zepeda is also an accomplished poet. She has several chapbooks and published poems to her name, she recently launched her new book of poetry: Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners.


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